Kwaheri Kenya Jambo Brighton

So were back in England! It’s been and amazing journey. I’ve met some incredible people and witnessed some fantastic things from them.  That is not to say that our adventure ran completely smoothly and we did encounter some hiccups along the way. But overall I believe our mission was successful and I have certainly come away from it knowing a lot more about the capabilities of myself and the capabilities others.


Big love to Hollie and Emma,  couldn’t have done it with out both of your skills and your support.

Special thanks to Peter and Ed for looking after us all and buying us chocolate when we were stressed, even though they couldn’t comprehend the fact that to us, chocolate is a staple food!

Old and new friends in Kibugat

Due to the intensity of this trip’s workload and the fickle nature of Internet connectivity I start this section of the blog with one day left before we return to the UK. In fact we left the Maasai Mara a few hours ago and aare now heading back to Nairobi and Upper Hill Campsite for a well earned hot shower, hot meal and a drink. I will continue to blog in date order but before I report on our Kibugat adventures let me acknowledge just how amazing my 3 students have been. Hollie Daley, Abi Wyatt and Emma Fearnley have been incredible. They have worked so hard, taken everything in their strides, have understood what we are trying to achieve and have shown a fantastic committment. 3 quite wonderful young women who are a credit to themselves, their families and loved ones and the University of Brighton.

Ok back to Kibugat. The first full day was Wednesday, which we put over to preparing the worksopmaeterials and testing the equipment.The idea in Kibugat was originally to  work with a number of youth from each of the following tribes – Kalenjin, Luo and Kisii. As it turned out we had more KalenjIn or Kipsigis (sub-tribe), 2 KisIi,  1 Kikuyu and 1 Meru – remember we had worked with the Kikoyu in Ruiru. Many of  these young people appeared pai fully shy at first, especially through the ‘theoretical’ elements of film production in the first session. However, as soon as the girls got them working with the equipment, e.g. how to put up and use a tripod, their shyness evaporated and they started to enjoy themselves.

After an introduction to the principles of storyboarding and question development, he students ran participants through the different types of shots they might consider using and then ran hands-on sessions with the Flip cameras they were to use for shooting their documentaries. The next day began with some practice vox pop practical sessions in which the young participants put their new knowledge into practice. Once everyone had had a go and was confident with what they were doing, roles were assigned and the groups serious business of shooting the film in a way that refelcted the views they wished to portray commenced. Unfortunately, the editing software problems encountered in Ruiru were to haunt  us throughout this trip but we believe we have a workaround that might meet everyone’s needs. In the same way that Ruiru agreed to work on after we left so did the youth  attending in Kibugat. In the meantime we would edit the footage and compare and contrast with the local young people before undertaking the outreach aspects of the project – showing the finished films in various tribal villages and stimulating dialogue in order to promote  peace through cultural understanding.

Final day in Ruiru – Day 3

Day three required an adjustment to our plans due to the software/hardware problems we encountered. Attempting to use an earlier version of the same software on the rather aged PCs was not ideal especially as we only had one copy which meant the use of a projector. This is not ideal for a hands on workshop but Hollie ran through the basic principles of editing admirably.  It’s always tough when presenting and the technology doesn’t perform but Hollie coped really well. After this introductory session students presented their shots in plenary session and giving critical insights to the thinking of the group production processes. These sessions stimulate much debate and helped each group to clarify their thoughts and plan the final editing which due to time constraints had to be carried out after we left. The agreement is that participants will complete their videos and send them to us for our feedback. They will then hold a reflective screening where they will critically assess both the technical elements of their productions together with the effectiveness of the video’s content.  This session will be filmed using the equipment we have left behind for them and this footage will also be sent to us.

This was aboutit in Ruiru. Time was pressing and we were running late. We washed up with areflective round table. A presentation of certificates of participation for all involved , some quite heart rending farewells to our new friends Ruiru and we were on our way to Kibugat, which lies some 5 hours to the  West, after we retrieved Abi’s card which had been chewed up by the ATM and then sent to another bracnch to the East.

We eventually arrived in Kibugat at 11.30  at night. Our hosts were waiting with a prayer and a meal…..bless them. For me thithis was like second home coming and I was greatly moved by their pleasure in seeing me again. We eventually got into bed at 1.30 in the morning. I told everyone to lie in and we changed the schedule so we could catch our breath. Something I should have planned in the first place as this trip is really intense. Still, we all learning and that somehow  is the point of this….well one of them.

Tomorrow I will start to relay our Kibugat adventures but right now I’m off for a good night’s sleep

Continuing day 2 & 3 in Ruiru

Just to keep you all up-to-date, this trip is very intense and opportunities for blogging, especially with the connectivity issues here in Kibugat, are few and far between. No matter how much we plan, everything starts late and over runs and there are always many locals who want to spend time with you, offering hospitality, showing us there school, dispensary, homes…….you complete the list ;-). We will continue to blog but please be advised that we can only post when we get the opportunity to and photos will be uploaded when we get to an Internet Cafe. As a result our blogs are running well behind our actual schedule. The next part of the blog picks up from where I left off in the previous post in Ruiru, when in fact we are on our last but one day in Kibugat before moving on to Nyangoma (Kisumu). Ok with that in mind I will finish the report back on the 2nd day in Ruiru.

Previous post continued………

As it transpired Willice Okoth from the International Youth Council (one of our partners) had arranged meetings with both the Assistant Minister of Nairobi Metropolitan Development, Elizabeth Onoro Masha (MP), at 11 am and with the Commissioner from the National Council of Integration and Cohesion (NCIC) at 2pm. Now under normal circumstances this would not have been a problem although when Edward Kibosek and I left Ruiru at 10 am we had only been expecting the 11 am meeting.

We decided to travel into Nairobi by matutu (the local transport system which are basically mini-buses in various states of repair that don’t go anywhere until packed to the rafters……then off you go!). This was because Hollie and her group had arranged some very interesting interviews including one with the gender-based violence officer at the Police Department. We thought it safer for the girls to make use of our driver and mini-bus especially as they were carrying filming equipment with them.

The meeting with the Minister was very productive and we are hopeful that we will secure her support for future plans. We left with some useful advice about gaining access to other influential people interested in Peace. In return we extended her an invitation to address the next 3rd International Conference on ICT4Development that we are seeking to organise.

After a reflective lunch we headed off to the offices of NCIC – by this time the girls had finished with our driver and he was racing around Nairobi trying to catch up with us as we walked in the direction of where we were told the offices were. Soon after he found us we found ourselves stuck in mid town traffic and getting later and later. We arrived only to find that NCIC had moved, so we turned back around into even worse mid town traffic on the quest to find the new offices. By this time, of course, we were very late and our would be host had had to leave for other business. We are hoping to reschedule for when we are back in Nairobi although it would have been helpful if they’d have thought about sharing the knowledge that they’d moved 😉

Of course all of this meant we were now deep into late afternoon and the first part of the trip out of Nairobi back to Ruiru required us to negotiate Nairobi rush hour traffic – one of the most eye opening and nerve chilling vehicular experience you can experience, in my opinion.

Although we were able to stay in touch with the girls via local mobiles, I was concerned that I wasn’t there to help or offer advice. We arrived back in Ruiru to find that – although a little stressed by dealing with the software problems and the need to think on there feet and find alternatives paths to achieving the workshop goals – the girls had performed like troopers with all the groups benefiting from their enthusiasm , expertise and general sense of elan. Edward and I decided to take them out to dinner, just we 5, so they could debrief and unwind whilst eating the most delicious goat washed down with the obligatory Tuskers or two before a well deserved night’s sleep……..Day 3 to be continued.

DAYS 2 & 3 in Ruiru

As I write this we are on the Nairobi/Narok road heading to Kibugat village. Our adventures in Ruiru have come to an end for now. We had a great time there but it was not without its frustrations.

Day 2 in Ruiru started with each of the students shooting with the subject groups selected the night I’ll leave them to report back on their experiences but judging  from my early glimpses of their work our young parners  had clearly clearly been listening  to the girls.Some very I nteresting work had been created…and so to editing. Well that was the plan!

As things turned out the editing software we brought with us wouldn’t work on the donated PCs. Unfortunately, for reasons I will explain in a moment the students  were facilitating  the  workshops on their own own at the time.  I have to say I was extremely proud of the way the  students took the problem in their stride and managed the problem. Pulling something very possitive from a difficult situation.

One of the things I’ve learnt about going to Kenya is that no matter how clear you are about your timetable  , one of your partners will always schedule an additional meeting or two and the latter was prove to be the case………..more to follow.

……and so down to work

Community documentary making.

After a pretty much sleepless 24 hours travelling (with an 8 hour stop-over in Dubai) we finally arrived in Nairobi at about 9pm on Sunday evening (local time). Just in time to get to Upper Hill Campsite,,,,,drop of our bags and grab a beer and a bite to eat during the European Championships final, after which everyone was ready.

Everyone slept really well, despite the barking of the security dogs. Next morning we were up at 6.00 and headed of to the FOCUS Youth Initiative in Ruiru. Traffic was heavy for part of the way but we arrived hungry (missed breakfast) at what we thought was their offices only to find they’d moved a mile or so down the road. We eventually found the new offices and introduced/reacquainted ourselves with a round the table ice breaker and a expectations based brain storming session.

This resulted in a number of possible documentary subjects, which were whittled down to a final 3 –  gender-based-violence; heroes of cultural diversity & inter-tribal cohesion; and HIV awareness raising, Participants got into their groups and spent an hour or so  discussing their visions and planning the processes  for the forth-coming shoot.

This was not as easy as it sounds…..not only because we were all very tired but also because we were encouraging the participants to be pro-active in driving the planning stages whilst teaching them new skills and trying to capture the process for our own research processes. These afternoon sessions became very interactive as our partners gained in confidence, found their voices and started to have fun. We’ll post video clips as and when we can but this might have to wait until we return due to connectivity issues. The students are being stars and have jumped straight in and are engaging extremely well. I think they’re having fun also.

At the moment they’re story-boarding and learning the mechanics of the tripods and cameras. One group has left to start shooting and putting what they’ve learned about interview techniques; the rule of threes and shot types into practice. Tomorrow we’ll continue the shoot in the morning. Focus on editing in the afternoon and show the finished community documentaries the following morning, where we celebrate what they’ve produced. A  few weeks afterwards the group will reconvene and analyse the technical aspects of their videos whilst reflecting on what they’ve learned and how they can use this knowledge effectively. They have agreed to recorded this and send us the video of this reflective session.